For both of you still following this blog, I guess it's time to catch up.
Just to recap, we stopped in Oriental in May of this year, with the intention of staying for a couple of weeks to visit family back in Charlotte, NC.
We are still here. There are a couple of reasons for that.
Carol has two great passions in her life. One is that she loves to garden. She is most happy planting, weeding, watering, and doing all manner of work in her yard. Over the years she has spent much time and effort in the patch of yard just outside our back door. She calls it "Duloc". (See the cartoon movie "Shrek".) It has paths through it and many varied plants, flowers, and shrubs. I don't know what they are, but they are pretty. And she loves to garden.
And you can't feed that beast on a sailboat (sorry Sea Bird!).
The other reason is family. One of our children was struggling. She was facing the prospect of raising three children alone, with limited resources and finances. While I don't agree with all of the choices that have been made in her life, this is family, and one doesn't turn one's back. Especially when grandchildren are involved.
And you can't feed that beast from a remote location (sorry Boot Key!).
It all started innocently enough. We were staying at a friend's house that they had generously offered while we visited with family. (Our house was leased.) You may recall we had sold all of our cars except for Carol's. As the house we were staying at was about a 30 minute drive from where our daughter (and, more importantly, grandchildren) were, we made do with differing agendas and schedules as best we could. After all, it's only for a couple of weeks, right? But those couple of weeks drug on into June.
And the lease on the house wasn't really working out. And it was set to expire in August.
Somewhere around late June (we are back for two weeks, remember?) and without any mention of going back to the boat, I floated a trial balloon. "I'm getting tired of sharing a car. If we stay here much longer, I'm going to need my own car."
"OK, get one that can tow a trailer and haul mulch."
In the FBI, they call that a clue. I bought a used Jeep Grand Cherokee, and installed a trailer hitch. We moved back into the house and Carol set about bringing Duloc up to snuff. We formulated a plan for the struggling ones.
I always knew this was a Real and Present Danger. Carol is a family person. Not than I'm not, but she has it in spades. It's one of the reasons we work well together. And it's why we did not head south with the rest of the gypsy clan this year.
And so I threw in with my lovely bride, and whipped the house back into shape, as she had done with me and Sea Bird. I rebuilt what needed rebuilding, brought power tools to bear against what was overgrown, and even hauled mulch. We brought our daughter and her children into our home, to give respite, solace, and healing to that family. Thanksgiving was once again a time to give thanks with family close at hand, instead of a time to try and stay warm on a mooring ball in a cold and windy Titusville. And as much as I enjoyed Christmas in Boot Key Harbor with newfound friends, in a few days I am looking forward to spending it with our five children, seven grandchildren, and the rest of the family and friends.
Our future plans? Who knows? Sea Bird is a little beat up, as I mentioned. I have discovered a broken bracket that both acts as an engine mount and supports the compressor for the engine driven refrigeration. As usual, on a boat, this project snowballs. I wanted to replace the engine driven refrigeration with 12 volt so we can leave the boat for more than a day. BUT FIRST, I have to rebuild or reinsulate the icebox, so I can remove all of the existing components, install the new ones, replace all of the engine mounts, possibly install another solar panel to keep up with the load, replace the impeller, and, since I will have to decouple the propeller shaft anyway, this would be a great time to rebuild the transmission to get rid of that rough shift problem. My intention is to start on all of this after the first of the year. Maybe Carol will get enough of a garden fix, and I will get enough projects done on Sea Bird, that we can leave in the fall for the Bahamas.
I do miss the sunsets.